Sign in to follow this  
Charles Bannerman

The BBs.

Recommended Posts

Every time I spot Jackie Sutherland on a match day guarding the doorway which links reception to the tunnel at the Caledonian Stadium, I remember my days in the Boys' Brigade of which Jackie was captain of the 7th and latterly the 10th Company.

The BBs used to be an old Inverness institution but have been very much in decline in recent years. When I was a kid in the 60s (and my father was captain of the 1st Company of which I was a member) there were 12 active companies in Inverness as well as one in Drumnadrochit. I think one started in Balloch soon after.

Football always played a big part in BB life in Inverness and a number of players started off in BB football. Billy Urquhart was in the 5th Company, Davie Milroy the 9th (of which Rodwill Clyne was Captain for a while)  and I think Charlie Christie was latterly the 9th as well or was it the 10th? On the coaching side, John Beaton started off as a BB boy and then an officer. There must have been lots more BB boys who went on to play in the Highland League etc. Indeed since Jeff MacDonald was a member of the 5th in my time, then so probably later on was his brother Kevin who went on to do the FA Cup/ League double with Liverpool in 85/86.

I'm sure a few users of this forum are ex BB boys from Inverness. Does anyone remember the short lived 11th (St. Marks) Company that was based over the road from ther Thornbush Inn? I'm sure there will be many who remember Scoobies, legendary Captain of the 5th Company. And if you played the Ferry Boys from the 4th at football, you were always scared to beat them since you would probably get chased home if you did. Life Boys anyone? And who remembers Gordy Bus as a young BB officer? What about trips to the BB Camp at Carrbridge when you would look out for the German's Head at the Slochd (I still do!) and chants on the way of "Gordy Bus (clap, clap), Gordy Bus (clap, clap)"

PT Competitions? Drill Competitions? Drill for goodness sake! When I look back on my time in the BBs mainly in the 60s, it just seems incredible that we used to dress up in Army uniforms from the 19th Century which we used to have to clean and polish with Brasso and respond to this guy bawling out orders which were designed to get troops into line of battle before the First World War!

"Kumpanay.... kumpanay, atten....SHUN. Tallest on the right, shortest on the left, in single rank.... SIZE!"

We used to have to sit exams in this stuff for the Queen's Badge!

I sometimes wonder if some officers of my time as a Boy (always with a capital B) were simply reliving their youth and their time in the war or on National Service. To a large extent I think the BBs were conceived as a means of training young lads to go on to guard the Empire (whilst the Boy Scouts thought they were RULING the Empire! :015:)

It's a bit of an outmoded concept now which has probably contributed to the decline of the BBs (my own Kumpanay hasn't existed for years), but I'm sure there will be others with memories of it too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too was a Scout.

The BB's never appealed to me as it appeared to be soooooooo boring.  Who wanted to play football and run around doing drill and PT when you could be playing with knives, lighting fires, canoeing, climbing, abseiling, camping and any number of other outdoor activities  :001:

I travelled to Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland with the Scouts....not to mention the dozens of places around the UK where we would go camping....and I met lads with a myriad of religious and cultural backgrounds.

It's funny you mention the "Military" aspect as I always thought that whilst the BBs might be preparing for some kind of future need, the Scouts were going one step further and getting out there, breaking down the barriers between cultures and religions and trying to do our bit to prevent the next generation coming to logger heads.

Oh yeah.....and we always thought the BBs were a bunch of Pansies  :015:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny you mention the "Military" aspect as I always thought that whilst the BBs might be preparing for some kind of future need, the Scouts were going one step further and getting out there, breaking down the barriers between cultures and religions and trying to do our bit to prevent the next generation coming to logger heads.

Whilst being run by people with ranks like "District Commissioner"?  :015:  Very, very good, Sahib, carry on up the Khyber!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah.....think you'll find that's an Appointment and not a Rank.

Try again..... :023:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles

I was in the 1st Company Life Boys for one or two years behind the Playhouse in a lane somewhere. I think the gentleman in charge who was a really dedicated  man was named George (MacDonald). Looking back I recognised the genuine interest he had had in what he was doing and admired him  for all the work he did for us boys and the cheerfulness he displayed .And one day I stopped him in the street during one of my rare return visits to Inverness, told him boldly what I thought of him and..frankly...made his day. That was a goooooood moment in time. :021: .    George was floating,man.... :hairy01:

Then I advanced to the Boys Brigade for another spell before defecting to the Air Training Corps which was mildly interesting and did allow me my first flight in an Anson.

Prior to that all my flights were in a balloon where all my thoughts resided and the balloon came out of my head and expanded until I dropped exhausted on my bed in the later evening.  :015: 

Probably it also got me into the Air Force instead of the Army when it came to my turn to go  off for National Service. It took me several years afterwards to note that RADAR spelt backwards also spells.....RADAR.

This revelation also spurred me on to the realisation that it's all much of a muchness anyway and  the more things change the more they stay the same.

Which forced me to the final conclusion that life is only a journey between the two impact statements, life and death, and you had better be nice to Uncle Scarlet since  he is older than all of you and he will be waiting to mark your report card at the Pearly Gates....Yessssssssss!  :lol09:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I attended the BB's behind the Methodist Church on the river for a few weeks.....got bored and joing the 6th Ness cubs in Dalneigh

cubs were a lot less regimented for me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

was never a member but my old rugby teacher was a big figure with the BB's

Colin Bailie

??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in the 2nd, Ness Bank Lifeboys thanks to a neighbour of mine Jimmy (Hutchie) Hutchison who invited me to join, why someone from Lilac Grove would want to trek all the way to the Haugh to be be part of an organization who were absolutely useless in every sport/competition/function is beyond me - we got beaten up at everything! The only plusses and happy memories were ringing door bells and running on the way home and looking for Cubs to fight with.

Charles I vividly remember Gordy bus proudly decked in his BB uniform showing off his ''badges'' and attending all the parades.

He was heavily involved in the BBs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest couchpotato

Guess i'm a bit AC/DC as i did a bit of time in both.Found the BB more churchie driven and the lads more into fighting and getting into bather,opted for the scouts ,more fun,adventure, not so much churchie stuff rammed doon yer throat, AND guides at camps !!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drill for goodness sake! When I look back on my time in the BBs mainly in the 60s, it just seems incredible that we used to dress up in Army uniforms from the 19th Century which we used to have to clean and polish with Brasso and respond to this guy bawling out orders which were designed to get troops into line of battle before the First World War!

.......and we were still at it in the 90's when i was in the 10th where JB was in charge with occasional visits from Jackie who always appeared to be scouting for players for the Telford Street teams. Drill was always something we got out of the way as quickly as possible, never lasting more than 10 minutes at the start of the night before a couple of hours of football and a game of pirates. As for Carrbridge - does anyone remember the wide game? I can't remember the rules exactly but it always seemed to amount to the younger kids getting beaten shitless in the woods. Oh, the memories............

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scarlet.... I think the Lifeboy leader you remember was George MacKintosh. He was still leader of the 1st Lifeboys when I joined in the 60s and for a while after that although he's been dead for about 20 years. He never seemed to have a job as such and lived off some kind of private income which meant that he effectively did BB stuff all the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in the 5th Company and can honestly say I played football in the same team as the legendary Billy Urquhart! Also Jeff and Gordon MacDonald, brothers of Kevin MacDonald, though not actually Kevin - he was too young then.

And of course I remember Scoobies, the legendary captain - more correctly known as Lamont Graham - supplier of fine booze, though I can't remember which offie he was in - I think it was in the market.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Drill for goodness sake! When I look back on my time in the BBs mainly in the 60s, it just seems incredible that we used to dress up in Army uniforms from the 19th Century which we used to have to clean and polish with Brasso and respond to this guy bawling out orders which were designed to get troops into line of battle before the First World War!

.......and we were still at it in the 90's when i was in the 10th where JB was in charge with occasional visits from Jackie who always appeared to be scouting for players for the Telford Street teams. Drill was always something we got out of the way as quickly as possible, never lasting more than 10 minutes at the start of the night before a couple of hours of football and a game of pirates. As for Carrbridge - does anyone remember the wide game? I can't remember the rules exactly but it always seemed to amount to the younger kids getting beaten shitless in the woods. Oh, the memories............

.....it never changed much from the 80's then when I was in the 10th. That's exactly the way a Friday night was set up !! :003:

I do remember the wide game, one night we all ran throught the nearby forest in the pitch dark, got to the field at the other side then ran all the way around the back of the forest to get back to the top corner of the camp....unbeknown to us there were bulls in that field !!! :029:

Also remember the story of 'Black Angy' which used to scare the chit out the younger kids !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And of course I remember Scoobies, the legendary captain - more correctly known as Lamont Graham - supplier of fine booze, though I can't remember which offie he was in - I think it was in the market.

It was the one on Queensgate, on the right just before the entrance to the market as you came up towards Academy St. I've forgotten its name now but it was originally a proper licensed grocer's. Lamont was an apprentice grocer there, perhaps in the late 40s or early 50s but certainly in the days when you scooped various products out of open sacks. The message boys (bouchers) used to hide Lamont's scoop and he would go about the place asking "where's my scoobies"... hence the nickname.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Charles

You have got it---that was George MacKintosh-that's it.

Imagine his spending most of his time working for and with the young lads--what a  guy.

Regards to you George in the spirit world. Hope you are looking down at this point--will make your day Ha! :016:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jock Watt

and you had better be nice to Uncle Scarlet since  he is older than all of you and he will be waiting to mark your report card at the Pearly Gates....Yessssssssss!  :lol09:

Wotchatalkin aboot, mon ? !  Yer no older than all of us ! !

The Famous Fourth were the absolute best when it came to Drill and PE.  I should know because when we won the drill competition for the second year running, I was the 'marker'. And, the leader of the team.

And let me tell you, when I began my square bashing I was able to march so much better than the other recruits because of my BB training.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was it not "PT" in these days? Did the 4th not excel at swinging clubs around in one of their routines? (Who the **** let the "Fighting Fourth from the Ferry loose with clubs!?)  :015:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeez Jock, my previous post was made two pages ago.

I guess at 75 you have just been able to wake up frae a wee snooze.  :003:

It's now happening to me too --suddenly run out of energy at 4p.m. Conk out, fall asleep for three hours and then can't get to sleep at midnight at bedtime. So stay up to go on this forum.

:014:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Jock Watt

Was it not "PT" in these days? Did the 4th not excel at swinging clubs around in one of their routines? (Who the **** let the "Fighting Fourth from the Ferry loose with clubs!?)  :015:

Aye, right enuff.  And the clubs had lights on the ends so that in the dark their movement looked really spectacular.

And, Scarlet - I'm 75 AND A HALF !!!!!! :016: :016:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes the camps at Carrbridge, great days indeed.

My mother was curious why I went through so much toothpaste for just a few days. :rotflmao:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Billy Urquhart was in the 5th Company. . . . . I'm sure there will be many who remember Scoobies, legendary Captain of the 5th Company.

At the risk of doing this one to death - one piece of trivia I overlooked here was that Scoobies became Billy Urquhart's father-in-law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Billy Urquhart was in the 5th Company. . . . . I'm sure there will be many who remember Scoobies, legendary Captain of the 5th Company.

At the risk of doing this one to death - one piece of trivia I overlooked here was that Scoobies became Billy Urquhart's father-in-law.

I was in the 3rd Crown run by a Captain Thom who taught at the Academy I seem to remember Rod Clyne helped out with PT (hated that wooden horse)

Loved the camps at Carrbridge had an Aunt and Uncle who lived there and we, my brother and I used to go and get fed by them

Each year we had a camp at Avoch on the Black Isle at easter, we had Church Parade twicw once in the am for one Church and the the Free church in the evening, didn't make me overtly religious though

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • FB_caley_thisle_online_970x90.jpg

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.